‘Can’t they just throw some dirt on top of the snakes?’Published 7:51pm Thursday, October 4, 2012
Everyone needs to take a break every now and then.
Especially from the political ads, conventions, and know-it-all pundits.
Which is why I’ve begun watching ‘Property Brothers’ on HGTV, a channel I had to refrain from viewing owing to several dents in my “entertainment center,” a.k.a. bench, from shoes being hurled at the annoying people who go shopping for a new home in “International House Hunters” and end up alienating everyone they meet in their newly selected country because they can’t find an 18th-century chateau with a garbage disposal.
But “Property Brothers” is different – just. And it has nothing to do with the fact that the two hosts are devastatingly handsome with their lean, athletic bodies, gobs of thick, dark, hair and beautifully deep-set, penetrating eyes. Nothing. I’m just astonished to see anyone taller than me, besides Big Bird, on television. One is a real estate agent (shaves) and the other is a contractor (sexy stubble).
Well, I think it’s a sexy stubble. Paul says if I like that then I must have thought Jed Clampett was really hot.
The gist of the show is this: each week, an incredibly naive couple (who, evidently, have never looked at a real estate listing in their lives) sit down and give the brothers a list of their “must haves.” Generally, it goes something like this:
“Well, we have a child, now, so, we’re going to need at least four bedrooms. We want an open planned living area with a huge kitchen, granite work tops and stainless appliances. We really enjoy entertaining and we have a dog, so we need a huge back yard, fencing, and, because we want to be close to great restaurants and shops, it needs to be close to the city, but we’d also like to be near a park.”
“Okay, great. What’s your budget?”
The other thing I find appealing about these brothers is that, upon hearing the budget, I’ve never seen them reach across the table and yank a handful of hair out of the collective couple’s heads.
So now the brothers are given the opportunity to be somewhat cruel. They find a home with all the “must haves” and it’s to die for: brand new, lavishly appointed, sitting upon an enormous landscaped lot. They trail silently as the couple exclaim, “This is perfect! Oh, my gosh, look at these oak floors! Oh! I love these countertops! That is the biggest walk-in closet I’ve ever seen!” And then they break their hearts by saying, “And all of this can be yours for a million bucks.”
“What? That’s so mean! Why would you show us something that you know is way over our budget?”
“To show you that you are never going to find what you want for your budget. Your only option is to buy a cheap, nasty crack-house, and let me completely remodel it to give you the home of your dreams.”
Now, this happens every single show. So you would think by now, that if you were chosen to appear on “Property Brothers,” you would know you’re going to be taken to one of the Romney’s homes and thus be prepared, so you could say something like, “Well, this is nice, but I’m sick of Viking ranges and elevators. What else ya got?”
What follows are a couple of viewings of really awful houses. And this is when I begin easing off my shoe, because these people, particularly the women, seem entirely incapable of seeing past the dated decor and observing the bones of the house. While Drew, the agent, points out all the bedrooms and the size of the kitchen, and John notes how he can easily knock out that wall to make the entire living area enormous, all we hear is the whining: “Ugh, I can’t stand this carpet. Gross, look at that wallpaper.”
The brothers then show them, via computer imaging, how they can turn each house they’ve viewed into something worthy of “Architectural Digest.” They show how the house can be bought, completely remodeled and still come in under budget. And one is always pretty far under budget, so there’s lots of financial wiggle room if they encounter problems when they start gutting the place, like dangerous wiring or rotted joists or a basement filled with snakes.
But the couple always, always, goes for the more expensive choice with absolutely no cash in reserve and I have to get up and go through my closet to find a boot because, naturally, snakes are found and it’s going to cost thousands to have them removed and the couple starts weeping about how they can’t afford this yet refuses to make any sacrificial cuts to the kitchen in order to keep their high-end appliances, and can’t they just throw some dirt on top of the snakes?
By the miracle of television, all is resolved in 23 minutes, the house always turns out magnificently and everyone shares a group hug. But I’m so aggravated that the couple never chooses the house that I decide is the most appropriate one for their needs that I’m gnawing my knuckles in frustration and yelling things like, “I could have told you there would be snakes! But do you listen? Noooooo!”
I’m going to have to go back to watching politics to calm down.